Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, the information below is based solely on my own personal experience.
Since I am chomping at the bit to get back into running, and I haven’t had my 6-week postpartum check; I thought I would write about some tips for returning to running instead. One of the things that new moms often grapple with is how to get back into exercising/running after giving birth.
While there are rough guidelines for getting back into your routine, everyone is different and the important thing is to LISTEN to your body. It will let you know if you are doing too much too soon!
Returning to Running After Pregnancy
Try and Wait 6 Weeks After Birth to Start Running Again
While not everyone follows the rule, I have waited at least 6 weeks after each birth before working out again. It can feel good to take leisurely walks to get out and get fresh air, but try not to do anything too taxing (spoiler, I made it only 4 weeks with my third pregnancy!).
Pregnancy and birth are a lot of work for your body, and it needs time to recover. If you find that your postpartum bleeding is increasing, it’s definitely a sign to slow down! I know people who started running a few weeks after birth, but for me, I have tried to take my time. I jumped the gun at 4 weeks with number 3, largely in part to my body recovering faster than it did with my previous two pregnancies. While each pregnancy is different, I do think your body snaps back faster each time. I guess it’s a been there, done that kind of situation! 😉
Pregnancy Can Change Your Gait and Body Carriage
Your body goes through some pretty crazy physiological changes during pregnancy, and it will need to adapt again after delivery. Be patient, and if you notice aches and pains, make sure it’s not due to any biomechanical/form issues. When you are pregnant, you carry the extra weight in front of you, and this can cause postural changes. Additionally, the extra weight from pregnancy can cause changes in your feet. Especially if you have had additional children.
Couch to 5k is a Great Way to Ease Back Into Running
Try a Couch to 5K approach to your return to running–a walk/run combo can help you ease back into training. You can even download the Couch to 5k app to your smart phone, so you can head out the door and get audible alerts for when to run and when to walk, because let’s face it– your brain is pretty much gone for a while! 😉
Nursing and Running
If you are nursing, make sure you get fitted for a good supportive sports bra— the girls will need it! I have found it helpful to make sure that I nurse right before I head out the door for a run for two reasons: 1) I feel much more comfortable on top and 2) the baby will hopefully not be as fussy, and I can enjoy my “me time” on my run! Make sure that you drink PLENTY of fluids–you will need the extra hydration.
You Will Probably Feel Like a Beginner Again
It’s okay that you may feel like you’re starting to run all over again–in a way, you are! Don’t get discouraged, your fitness will come back. I can attest that you will feel spent after your first run back and probably sore the next day (but in a good way). Even though you will feel like a rookie again, the fitness will come back and probably sooner than you would expect!
I saved the best for last, because I think this one is the most important. Running is such an important part of my life (and probably your’s if you’re reading this), and I missed it over the 9 months of pregnancy. I didn’t always miss the physical part of it, but I definitely missed the mental release I get from running. The sheer euphoria of that first run in months was the best feeling, and it didn’t even matter that I only went a little over a mile!